He Died for Me

This poem is based chronologically on portions of Matthew’s Gospel.  I wrote this as Easter approached a number of years ago.

photo-1434077471918-4ea96e6e45d5He died for me?
How can that be, that Jesus chose to die for me?
Nailed to a tree, unjustified.
His blood applied. What news! That Jesus died for me!

He knew His purpose, He knew the Plan.
God would come in the form of man.
To live with us and dwell with us.
For me, for ME? He died for me.

The joy before Him, He endured the cross.
He suffered and scorned its shame.
Left without a friend, obedient to the end.
This Jesus, my Jesus, He died for me.

Foretold in Isaiah,
Spoken for by John.
Baptized in the Jordon, the sky would open,
The Father had spoken and the mission had begun.
This Jesus, my Jesus, He died for me.

Tempted by Satan, proved faithful by Scripture,
He preached repentance and called His disciples.
He healed the sick so I could see.
This Jesus, yes Jesus, He died for me.

untitled.pngSpoke from a mountain and told of the fountain,
The life we could have in Him.
Love the lowly, avoid adultery.
Be salt and light, and love, peace and mercy.
Stay free, live free. His mind always on me.
This Jesus, merciful Jesus. He died for me.

Give it all away, pray and forgive,
Store up treasures where one day you’ll live,
Don’t worry or judge. Ask, seek and knock.
Enter the narrow gate and stay close to the flock.
He’s prepared a way.
This Jesus, my Jesus, He died for me.

No houses on sand, build a solid foundation.
Have faith, be healed and let His glory be revealed.
Be devoted and follow, let Him calm your storms.
No sacrifices needed, only a heart turned towards.
This Jesus, my Jesus, He died for me.

The workers are few, the LOST are many.
Pray to the Lord for more help.
He wants to save, let’s pray today,
for our families, friends and enemies.
He loves them all, we don’t understand.
This Jesus, unfathomable Jesus, He died for me.

He calls us out every single day,
Go, tell, and be sure to pray.
Love in my Name, and do all for Me.
I promise to provide and give rest when you’re weary.
Keep my Sabbath, stay faithful in meeting.
Your strength comes in numbers, love one another deeply.
His plan is good, better than your own.
This Jesus, Son of Man, He died for me.

Love as a child; stay on the straight and narrow.
I’ll provide your food, your rest and a bright tomorrow.
No worry for clothes or a place to lay your head.
All that is my joy to give, trust me, you’ll be fed.
Such love, such care we don’t deserve.
This Jesus, my Redeemer, He died for me.

dan-kiefer-467645-unsplash (1)He came as a babe, so lowly and small
no place for Him, but a dirty stall.
The King of Kings and the Lord of Lords
He came so I can live.
He humbled himself, our example, the Servant.
He taught us and so now, we can be fervent.
Our devotion is true and our lives shine,
All for His glory and none for mine.
Because He lives, I can live too.
This Jesus, my Jesus, He died for YOU.

Defeated and mocked or so it appeared.
They stripped Him, but couldn’t take His glory.
Even to the end, redemption told the story
For one who was on His side – paradise was his reward.
The curtain torn, they laid Him in a tomb, guarded by soldiers,
Oh, such doom.
But victory was coming, the women were running,
to tell that they had seen Him!
To many He appeared, even to those He loved dear,
And now He reigns on His throne above.
This Jesus, My Jesus, all for love, He died for YOU.

The day and hour is not known, but one day He will come.
For now, He reigns in our hearts and on His heavenly throne.
This Jesus whose blood was shed for me
has made my life worth living.
This Jesus, my Jesus, He died for me.untitled3.png

It happened long ago we know, and yet the truth remains.
His resurrection ever told, through the truth of His claims.
They cannot prove otherwise, His followers know it’s true,
for we are forever grateful and try to show it in all we do.
He is the Way, the Truth, the Life. He is the only One.
He’s the God of all gods and the only true Son.
It is our joy today to honor Him and bless His Name,
For we know He lives because our lives are changed.
This Jesus, the Powerful Savior, it’s Him we celebrate.

The cross was the bridge for our sin sick souls
Our hellish lives could now be redeemed.
If we know Him in our hearts, we cannot help but sing.
The One who’s closer than a brother,
The One who calls us His friends.
It doesn’t seem possible, this personal Savior.
He’ll see us to the end.

Heaven is our future, death has lost its sting.
Through generations till He comes, His truth forever rings.
The best thing that has happened is we know deep down inside,
He makes His home in our hearts and there He now abides.
No more could He have done,
His love has set me free.
This Jesus, yes Jesus, He died for me.

by Valerie Rumfelt

Mary of Bethany

Just a few days before Jesus would die on the cross for the sins of the world, there is an account of a woman who took an opportunity to worship Him. Her display was lavish and loving, and remembered throughout all time.

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John 12:1-8 is the passage. We find Lazarus hosting a dinner for Jesus. Martha is serving. Mary is near Jesus.

It was six days before the Passover Feast. Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived. Lazarus was the one Jesus had raised from the dead.

2 A dinner was given at Bethany to honor Jesus. Martha served the food. Lazarus was among the people at the table with Jesus. 3 Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard. It was an expensive perfume. She poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the sweet smell of the perfume.
4 But Judas Iscariot didn’t like what Mary did. He was one of Jesus’ disciples. Later he was going to hand Jesus over to his enemies. Judas said, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold? Why wasn’t the money given to poor people? It was worth a year’s pay.” 6 He didn’t say this because he cared about the poor. He said it because he was a thief. Judas was in charge of the money bag. He used to help himself to what was in it.
7 “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “The perfume was meant for the day I am buried. 8 You will always have the poor among you. But you won’t always have me.”

What splendid love Mary displays.

Mary is esteemed because of her outward display of devotion toward Jesus. She gave all she had to worship Jesus and show her love to Him.

To her, Jesus was the only one in the room. She was compelled to worship Jesus in this precious and costly way.

Judas, the one who would later betray Jesus was in the room and opposed this act of love. Judas’ weakness was he cared only for himself. When he tried to deceitfully make a point about Mary’s love toward Jesus being misguided, this selfishness and darkness in his character was exposed.photo-1526139255915-ace9e78d8fb6

The difference between Judas and Mary is stark. Judas tried to garner favor for his position by pulling in the poor as his cover. He not only revealed his true colors, but tried to deceive those around him into thinking he was concerned for the poor.

Jesus, of course, was the one present concerned for the poor most of all. The fact Judas tried this tactic with Jesus present exposes even more about Judas…unfavorable and repulsive, to say the least.

Mary on the other hand is generous in her expression of love. To be clear, it was a display. Unabashed, Mary seems oblivious to the dark character sitting near her in Judas and still displays a lavish love for Jesus using a lavish product. She is one to admire and esteem.

Jesus knew both hearts of course, and welcomed Mary’s love and worship while penetrating the darkness of Judas with a direct command to leave Mary alone.

This story thrills me. Jesus, a man willing to fellowship with friends and foes alike, ready to defend the pure in heart, able to receive an extravagant love, and appreciate the sacrifice. Yet, in a few words, He exposes the motives and forces of evil sitting near Him in Judas.

The people in Jesus’ day didn’t understand they would soon lose Him to a brutal and sacrificial death on their behalf. Even in this passage, Jesus tells those present that He will not always be with them. They couldn’t grasp that He’d soon be gone. No matter how many times Jesus spoke of His coming death, they could not understand.

As we enter the next few days, each day leading to the Resurrection holds different meaning. Let’s ponder Mary. This brave lady used her opportunity to worship Jesus in the face of evil.  In a few days she would  be at the foot of the cross with other women who loved Him. Let’s be like Mary, unashamed to worship the One who saved us, and faithful enough to live for Him until the end of our days.

Perhaps the most striking lesson to be learned from Mary of Bethany is her unwavering devotion to Jesus. She not only followed Him, she worshipped Him. She hung on His every word. No matter what was happening around her she never lost sight of Him. Her pure love was defended by Jesus and He made sure she was remembered through the ages.

She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he said. Luke 10:39

 

Lamb of God

It’s Holy Week. A contemplative, yet joyous week for all who believe in Jesus, trust Him with their lives, and show Him their love through obedience. This poem is one I wrote a few years ago.

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Lamb of God

 

O Lamb of God, so pure and sinless
Thank you for your love so endless.
No other could have died that day.

O Lamb of God, who paid my way
To heavens glory I’ll go one day;
To worship you in peace and love
Sweet Lamb of God, to you I fall.

Oh Lamb of God, perfect offering
Your blood flowed on that day.
But death couldn’t keep you, no.
You rose from the grave.

O Lamb of God, what can I do,
To let you know my love for you?
Live life in fellowship with me,
Do this daily and you’ll be free.

O Lamb of God who took my place
By grace, now I can see your face.
You washed me clean that day, it’s true
And now I choose to live for you.

By Valerie Rumfelt

Beets per Minute

photo-1507484467459-0c01be16726eWhen was the last time you ate beets? I don’t imagine it’s at the top of most people’s culinary favorites. I used to hate beets because my only experience with them was out of a can. Those are truly awful. My mother would have them as a side dish for dinner occasionally and they tasted like whatever I thought pennies would taste like, purely awful.

From childhood until a few years ago, all that time…no beets.

Until  a friend of ours became ill…

He decided that having a  healthy diet  would keep the cancer from developing further. One time in his home he prepared a beet salad made from fresh beets. My palate made a new memory and beets for the first time had a good place in my mind.

Recently, my husband purchased beets in a plastic container from the produce department. They were round, soaking in vinegar. Then I viewed an ad for Green Giant Frozen Beets on social media. It seemed beets were emerging. The image in the ad was of spiral cut beets. It was intriguing. Going to the store was on my list so I purchased this vegetable, frozen. Not long ago, we ate them as a side dish.

I cooked the beets as directed on the package while sautéed purple onion simmered in a pan. After the beets were cooked, I drained the liquid from them, and added them to the pan of onions. In a couple of minutes it was ready to serve. I didn’t add another thing to this mixture. It was a vivid maroon serving of 2 nutrient packed vegetables. A natural sweetness seemed to make it all palatable.

And in case you’re concerned about that natural sweetness, the natural fiber is the barrier to slow down the travel of the sugar into your bloodstream. This is how God created our bodies and all the processes HE created are for our good.

photo-1467019972079-a273e1bc9173After looking online, there are a number of food items that can be added to beets. This list gives you a few ideas:

  • For a cold salad, a bag of spinach could be added with feta cheese and walnuts.
  • Orange slices would add be a succulent addiction. delicious and incredibly healthy.
  • Whip up a honey dressing stirring in balsamic vinegar and garlic to go on top.
  • Roasted carrots or diced sweet potato would be a colorful combination for a hot dish.

I was pleasantly surprised by this simple dish. Beets are very good for your body by being a good source of vitamin C, magnesium and can aid in cardiovascular health.

“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” ~Margaret Thatcher

Sometimes the weekends present challenges to a healthy lifestyle and the discipline we had all week crumbles.  Maybe this blog on beets can get you refocused this weekend. As a final note,  I would recommend fresh or frozen for beets, and any other vegetable.

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

I Corinthians 3:16

 

Art and Youth

photo-1481624362406-b7817fa45ecfIs there anyone in the Christian world who hasn’t heard of the Gideons? Their real name is The Gideons International. Most hotels today still carry a Bible provided by this Christian organization in a drawer near the bed. But they state in their mission statement that they are more than just what we see in a hotel room.

The Gideons International is an Association of Christian business and professional men and their wives dedicated to telling people about Jesus through associating together for service, sharing personal testimony, and by providing Bibles and New Testaments. While we are often recognized for our work with hotels, we also place and distribute Scriptures in strategic locations so they are available to those who want them, as well as to those who may not know they need them.

Recently my husband and I saw a different side to The Gideons International… their  youth. The youth coordinator had contacted Buried Treasures Home via the facebook page a couple months ago wanting to know if there was anything they could do for us at Buried Treasures Home. They would be in the area attending the State Gideon Convention and these young people were available to do a service project while their parents attended meetings. After some dialogue, it was decided that they would come out and paint canvases that could be used in a new building.

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They showed up today with 2 adults and a few youth and children. Coming with sweet spirits, they worked with diligence and focus.  Each of their canvases are lovely and each one took pride in what they painted for us.

Afterwards we took them on a walking tour of Buried Treasures Home.

This wasn’t a typical Saturday morning at Buried Treasures Home. For one thing, the ladies were off campus themselves serving others at the Hope Conference which is according to their website, “an educational event for cancer patients, survivors, family members and caregivers.”  You can learn more here.

Typically on a Saturday morning Clark teaches Introduction to Christianity and we have our weekly calendar meeting and evaluations. While our ladies were serving the Lord, this strong group of youth was serving the Lord at Buried Treasures Home.

Their visit only solidifies all the more the good reputation that Gideons already had in our minds.

You can learn more about The Gideons International here.

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5 Ways to New Beginnings

2a44183f-6035-47e9-8397-80952ca92f45It’s the last day of February. Did you make any resolutions at the beginning of this year? We all long for a new start, a new beginning and we believe we will behave differently this year and achieve it. Sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t.

At some point, I began to question the idea of making resolutions. The idea seemed empty to me. My trouble was defaulting to procrastination, or losing focus. That was when goals began to mean more to me. Goals seemed to have a permanency to them, an unwavering commitment to being achieved. But even those can get self focused and you can climb the ladder a long time and find out it was leaning against the wrong wall.

If you are beginning to believe that your resolutions only leave you feeling hopeless, then take a look at the list below. They support the idea of doing life daily. The best way to begin is with the Lord as your Leader.

Self discipline and determination are the keys to any success, but those traits come from the Lord and anything started with Him is going to end in success!

  • Be focused – For the Lord GOD helps Me, Therefore, I am not disgraced; Therefore, I have set My face like flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed. Isaiah 50:7
  • Be a disciple – Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23
  • Be humble –  “In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” Psalm 5:3
  • Be a servant- “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15
  • Be Committed – Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3

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    Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness. Lamentation 3:22-23

Love Is NOT Blind

freestocks-org-552875-unsplashAnd I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart, so they will obey my decrees and regulations. Then they will truly be my people, and I will be their God. But as for those who long for vile images and detestable idols, I will repay them fully for their sins. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!”

Ezekiel 11:19-21

As Valentines Day approaches, may I recommend that we keep our focus on Jesus! The world groans. It is predictable. We are in a relationship with the only One who gives hope and provides us a home in Him. Remember, this world is not our home if we know Jesus. This is a time for believers to tighten our grip and be all the more devoted to the One who saved our soul.

The Old Testament passage above tells of God being the only one capable of heart transformation. His capability of giving a people a heart of devotion toward Him is spectacular and miraculous. But another side of God appears in the same passage as one who opposes those who are not serving Him and He repays them for their sins.

So what about now? We learn early in church that God is Love. I didn’t go to seminary and don’t have any impressive jargon to explain God’s love. But this is one thing I’ve learned. God is love, but…

His love is NOT blind – Lost people act like lost people and He sees. Lost people wander in darkness and produce much wickedness and evil. It is up to us, His children, to pray for hearts to be transformed. We are also commanded to witness with our lives and our lips on a regular basis.

His love is NOT blind – Even believers can produce surprising amounts of wickedness and evil which He sees. Although we are His children, we still give in to our sin nature for a moment or even a season. When we do, His discipline, designed to chase us back will come. (Proverbs 3:12). As for consequences, those soon become self-evident. Grace is wonderful, but we still break God’s heart when we sin. However, His love is not blind to our confessions and desire to turn back to Him and follow His ways. (1 John 1:9)

His love is NOT blind – He sees the good things His children do and rewards them. (Galatians 6:9) This is particularly encouraging if you’re in a thankless and under appreciated environment. Being the personal God that He is, it is thrilling when He approves of who we are in some particular way or in something we are doing at any moment in time.

Be warned however that God will never give approval to anything He has stated in the Bible as sin.

His love is NOT blind – For His children, we are given grace and mercy in all of life’s seasons whether we are devoted or not. He is not blind. It can’t be overstated how kind God is to His own. And yet, He uses that kindness often to lead us to repentance.(Romans 2:4).

For the unbeliever, they have the wrath of God on them. ( Romans 1:8, Hebrews 10:31)

As believers, we are to walk humbly before our God. God is all-knowing. We can rest in His love and know His love is not blind which is good news for His devoted ones looking at the evil of this world. God sees all and He has a justice system that is not based on human emotion or shifting shadows. He will punish the wicked.rocky shore

 

Here are a few action tips for believers living in this dark world:

  • We can sharpen our spiritual disciplines in prayer, Bible reading, witnessing, sharing with those in need, fasting, memorizing and meditating on scripture, taking care of our bodies, praising Him, holding our tongues, committing to kingdom work through the local church.
  • We can remember that God is light and in Him there is no darkness, at all. Make times to focus on Jesus.
  • We can take a break from the news.
  • We can examine our own lives and ask God to show us any ways that don’t please Him.
  • We can humble ourselves and ask God to fill our hearts with His love for this world.
  • We can pray that the hearts of people won’t be hardened especially those who are in places of authority.
  • We can remember God loves the righteous and the unrighteous. We used to be enemies of God.
  • We can strive to live in such a way that the Lord takes pleasure in us and provides His protection to us.

With all that is going on so rapidly in our world and in our country, it is comforting to know that God’s love is not blind. It is also important for His children to look for where God is working. Ask His Holy Spirit to show you and thank Him for these good things. We must pray for those in authority over us and live our lives in a way that pleases Him. We are God’s way of reaching the world. When He looks at His kids, we want Him to see us actively involved in His work. After all, His love is NOT blind.

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Matthew 5:43-48

 

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